The Global Timber Tracking Network – In Focus: Illegal Logging and the Associated Timber Trade

Illegal logging and the associated timber trade are a serious threat for precious timber species and for forests in general. It impacts environment (biodiversity loss, soil degradation, climate change) as well as economy (tax evasion, corruption, distortion of timber market).

Timber tracking systems do exist to check tree species and geographic origin of wood. The most common ones, however, can be manipulated as they are paper-based or via electronic tags. That’s why development of timber tracking systems based on characteristics inherent to the wood are essential.

The Global Timber Tracking Network (GTTN) brings together experts in timber identification tools (wood anatomy, stable isotopes and DNA analyses), policy and advocacy specialists to

(i) integrate, optimize and standardize methods,

(ii) develop a global database with reference data,

(iii) raise awareness and train researchers worldwide.

At the start of the second phase of the GTTN, the new IUFRO report “Illegal Logging and Related Timber Trade – Dimensions, Drivers, Impacts and Responses” offers a welcome perspective on the problem of illegal logging and related timber trade. The full report is available via the IUFRO website. Key issues are highlighted by Dr. Nele Schmitz (GTTN; Thünen Institute of Forest Genetics) in her summary of the report:

A summary of the IUFRO World Series Volume 35 report on illegal logging and related timber trade


For further information about current timber tracking, GTTN activities, sustainable timber markets, contact Dr. Nele Schmitz: